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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > East Midlands > Private client > Contentious trusts and probate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Contentious trusts and probate clients in East Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Justifiably regarded as the best firm in the East Midlands’, Freeths LLP ‘has a clear understanding of its clients’ needs and aims, and is relentlessly focused on achieving those aims’. ‘Offering a good balance of technical knowledge, approachability and a pragmatic stance’, the group demonstrates particular strength in high-value litigation, including claims under the Inheritance Act, will challenges, removal applications and Court of Protection work. ‘Top-class litigator’ and practice head Mark Keeley ‘commands universal respect in this area’. Director Rachel Gaffney ‘is a star in the making’. Senior associate Laura Short recently joined from Jones Myers.

strong regional practice’, Nelsons Solicitors Limited handles a broad range of trusts and probate litigation, including claims under the Inheritance Act, will disputes and capacity issues. Key figures include practice head and ‘very able lawyerKevin Modiri and ‘considered and calm’ associate Lewis Addison, a member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists. Recent work includes representing a client in a claim under the Inheritance Act, assisting another client with a will challenge and defending a client against claims in relation to property ownership.

Noted for its ‘particular expertise in agricultural estates’, Roythornes Solicitors focuses on will disputes, proprietary estoppel claims, Inheritance Act claims and trust disputes, often involving generational issues. Court of protection matters are another key area. Practice head Tim Russ ‘is an excellent lawyer to have on your side in a difficult situation’ and recently advised a claimant on a proprietary estoppel claim regarding a Yorkshire farm that had been settled tentatively in mediation, but has now moved on to Chancery division.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP's group provides ‘a fantastic service’ that covers will disputes and Inheritance Act claims, trusts disputes and court of protection work, as well as will construction and rectification claims and related professional negligence claims. Cross-border contentious probate work is another specialism. Under the leadership of Andrew Wilkinson, who ‘stewards his practice exceptionally well’, the team advises a varied client base that includes accountants, farmers, landed estates, professional trustees and charities such as World Horse Welfare and Battersea Dogs’ and Cats’ Home.

The ‘well-respected’ team at Gateley Plc collaborates closely with the firm’s private client department and was joined in 2017 by legal director Fiona Debney from Clarke Willmott LLP. The caseload consists mainly of complex disputes and related professional negligence litigation, with a track record that ranges from pursuing a claim against an executor for devastavit to the removal of a non-cooperative trustee of a will trust. Practice head Chris Greenwell’s team includes newly promoted legal director Claire Herbert , who ‘has particularly sound judgement, which helps achieve sensible and pragmatic resolutions to disputes’.

The ‘excellentSmith Partnership offers a wide spread of experience spanning breach of trust and financial abuse claims, contested wills and removal of executors, as well as demonstrating strength in cohabitation disputes and claims for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act. ‘Exemplary’ associate Jak Ward heads the team and combines ‘excellent communication skills’ with ‘consummate legal acumen’. Recent work includes assisting the cohabitee of the deceased with a claim for provision from the deceased’s estate, acting for an applicant on a trusts of land dispute, and advising the executors of an estate on allegations against the validity of a home-made will, successfully obtaining issuance of a grant to the executors.

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